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Inside, all of my feelings were so complicated. I couldn't believe that I was actually having my first kiss and that it was with the savage! I didn't struggle, but I didn't encourage him either. I was stiff and awkward because I had never kissed before and I wasn't sure exactly how it was done.

I jerked when I felt something hard against my back and I realized that the savage had somehow maneuvered me inside the door and I was now pressed up against the living room wall. It probably wasn't a good idea to be making out on my doorstep anyway.

The savage still had a hold on my wrists and he moved my hands off his chest and soon had them pressed up against the wall, holding me down as he leaned into me. The entire experience wasn't anything like I'd planned my first kiss. My lips were beginning to feel bruised by the savage's unrelenting smooch.

He let up his hold and I cracked open my eyelids to see his stony features. He looked shocked by the force of what he had just felt. He also looked confused, like he didn't know why he had kissed me. I knew the moment our lips connected we had both felt something very powerful and it had rocked my entire being. He roughly held me back against the wall, restraining my hands and forcing my legs open with one of his own.

I felt the savage's thigh nudge up between my legs and I tried to move my hips away. I was sporting a big erection and I didn't want the savage to feel it. I felt the savage pull my hands further up until they were above my head, then he secured both of my wrists in one of his hands.

He used the other hand to unsnap my jeans and slide the zipper down, spreading open the fly and touching my lower abdomen just above my boxers. With his tongue shoved in my mouth and his hands on my body, I was getting very close to losing control. I couldn't let that happen.

I started to struggle when the savage's hand moved closer to my hard on, and he restrained me when I automatically tried to pull away. Ten minutes ago, I'd never even been kissed before, and now I was being touched intimately by my long time crush.

I'd often wondered what it would be like to be on the receiving end of his attentions and now that I was getting them, I wasn't quite sure what to do. My hands curled into fists above me head and I made another sobbing sound in the back of my throat.

After having been my best friend for almost ten years, the savage knew that I was inexperienced. I was enjoying the kiss and I liked what the savage was doing, but I was too innocent to show him. Instead my hands strained in his grip, pulling at his hold.

"Relax," he said huskily.

Relax? How the fuck was I supposed to do that? My hands clenched and unclenched as I put forth a superhuman effort to stop being so tense. The savage kissed me again. I was still stiff, but definitely less so. His mouth covered mine, drawing on it and inserting his tongue as far as it would go.

He dislodged our mouths with a wet sound and whispered, "Kiss me back, pee-wee."

My eyes had been tightly shut, but I opened them to see his dark green eyes staring right into mine. He held still, just a few inches away. I swallowed nervously, my throat suddenly feeling dry, and I licked my lips. The savage's eyes caught the movement and dropped to my lips and I watched his eyes darken further.

I stuck my tongue out and leaned forward to tentatively lick across the savage's lips. He jerked a little at my bold move and I felt his body tighten against mine. I was immediately filled with dread. Had I just done something wrong? I shifted, ducking my head and waiting for him to release me. Instead he bent his head and searched out my lips with his own.

God, the taste of him was fucking delicious. This was only my first try at kissing but I loved it already. Before I could stop myself, I arched my hips upward, unwittingly humping myself against the savage's thigh that was wedged between my legs; bumping my hard cock against his hip.

I was beginning to experience a painful ache in my dick from being so hard. When the savage began to suck on my tongue, I held nothing back. I tasted his mouth, kissing him with all the hunger I felt. It no longer mattered that I had never kissed before. I let horniness take over, using my instinct to guide me.

I could feel the thick shaft of the savage's penis pressed up against my thigh and experienced a sliver of excitement knowing that he was just as turned on as I was. How many nights had I dreamed of the savage touching me this way? Too many to count.

Just as the hand resting on my abdomen began to slowly inch down towards my dick, the phone began to ring. It took a moment for the sound to register, but once it did it was like a cold splash of water over the both of us. The savage hastily released his hold on me and stepped back.

Without his support, my legs wobbled and nearly buckled. I watched as the savage moved away until he was almost on the other side of the room from me. He wanted to put as much distance between the two of us as he could. I felt bereft. All I wanted was to be pressed up against him again, feeling his hard muscles and hot body, kissing him.

The phone only rang four times before the answering machine picked up, but whoever it was didn't want to leave a message and just hung up. I stood awkwardly rooted to the same spot, my eyes avoiding the savage, unsure of what to do next. The savage stood breathing hard near the couch, and I frantically searched my suddenly blank mind for something to say.

But I didn't know where to start. Why had the savage just kissed me? Did this mean he had feelings for me? The kind I'd had for him for so long. The silence in the room was suffocating and I wanted to say something, but suddenly my tongue had swelled to twice its size, leaving me incapable of coherent speech. Across the room, the savage stood with his hands propped on his hips, looking angrily at the floor. I had a feeling his anger was directed towards me.

I opened my mouth again to say something, but nothing came out. I stood by helplessly as the savage tried to get his anger under control. I wanted to go to him, to soothe some of his anger. I forced my uncooperative legs to move, taking me to where the savage stood lost in thought. He stood still as I advanced; seemingly unaware of my approach until I reached his side and put my hand on his chest, right above his ribs. He reacted as though my touch burned him; he caught my hands and pulled them away from his body.

"Don't," he said, turning away and presenting me with his back.

I felt the heat scorch my cheeks. I'd been a fool to touch him, to think that he wanted me to. To think that he would let me. I only had to look at his reaction after we were interrupted by the phone to know how he felt. His rejection of my offer of comfort was smarting but I was still aroused. In fact, my disobedient penis was still very hard and poking against the front of my pants. This was such an inappropriate time to be having an uncontrollable boner.

"Look, Connor," the savage began as he turned around, but stopped abruptly when he saw the large bulge in my pants. I saw his eyes widen and then glance up questioningly to mine. I had never felt more inadequate in my life as I did in the moment. I wanted to reach down and use my hands to cover my wood.

The savage took in my painfully aroused state and I inwardly cringed at his inspection. Heat flared up my neck and burned my face as a wave of embarrassment washed over me. I turned away, curving my body and hunching my shoulders, facing the wall to hide my erection; I was ashamed of my obvious hard on.

The situation was going from bad to worse. I could feel the savage come up behind me. I just wanted him to leave. I didn't want him to see me this way. I was so fucking weird sometimes, no wonder the savage saw me as pathetic. I couldn't even string together a series of monosyllabic words to form an articulate sentence. I grimaced but I continued to maintain my position facing the wall. If I had to stand there all day I would. As long as the savage stood behind me, then I wasn't going to budge.

I wasn't prepared for the savage's strong grip however, and before I had a chance to evade him, he grabbed me by my shoulders and spun me around to face him. The savage stared at me while I studiously avoided his gaze, which prompted him to ask, "Why won't you look at me?"

I couldn't, I thought. Why did he want me to look at him anyway? So that he could laugh right before my eyes? Despite my better judgment, I looked up at him. His eyes had an aloof quality. I interpreted his standoffishness as disinterest. I ducked my head, knowing that he could see the insecurity in my eyes. How could he deny what we both felt? Suddenly I resented him coming over. It was like rejecting me at school hadn't been enough. He had to follow me home, kiss me and then push me away.

Well, in all fairness it wasn't really a big deal for him to come over, after all he did live next door. But at that moment I didn't feel like being fair. I wanted answers and reasons. I knew that if I waited he would probably explain himself. I didn't feel like being patient and I didn't even feel like being rational. I waited few moments for him to say something, but he continued to stay quiet.

"Why did you kiss me like that?" I finally asked.

"Because ... because. I don't know," the savage said running his fingers through his hair.

He looked at me with those amazing hazel eyes and I knew that nothing had changed. Yes, he had followed me to my house and had given me an incredible kiss, but nothing had changed. I took a deep breath to fortify me and drew my tattered dignity around me like a cloak. If he wanted a war then I would give him one. I was going to make his sorry ass regret the day that he had passed me up for Paul Hennessey.

There was more than one way to cook a chicken. I realized that I might have been going about this all wrong. Throwing myself at the savage for the past four years hadn't worked, so it was time for me to try a different tactic. Nobody really wants what they can get too easy and everybody wants what they can't have. I needed to make some changes in my life and I was going to start right now.

Swallowing hard, I did my best to keep my voice normal when I said, "that's okay. It's no big deal." I tried to laugh but it came out more like a strangled cough, "I kissed you back, so it wasn't all your fault."

The savage looked at me like he was trying to make up his mind whether I was serious or not. From the look in his eyes, I'd say that he hadn't been expecting me to say that. Good, I thought with a perverse sense of satisfaction. I was sick and tired of being predictable. The savage had always seen me as a guarantee, a certainty. A buddy. We were exact opposites in every way, but we were still best friends.

That fact wasn't ever going to change. No matter what happened, the savage would always be my best friend. I wouldn't mind if we were lovers in addition to being friends, but I was no longer holding my breath for it. Even if the savage suddenly noticed that I was everything that he'd always wanted and finally wanted a more intimate relationship with me, I would have to say no, to refuse.

I needed to stop being a fucking doormat. The savage was always surrounded by more guys than he knew what to do with. I didn't want to be part of the pack anymore. I had too much pride to be one of the crowd. As weird as it was, I felt like a great weight had just been lifted off my shoulders. I had spent years trying to get the savage to want me and I had finally given up. Well, sort of. But it felt great to consider moving on.

"Listen, dude," I said, "I'm not going to lie to you. Paul Hennessey is a rotten piece of shit. It kills me that you're with him, and I can't say that I understand, but I respect your choice."

The savage looked a little stunned. I guess it would be safe to say that he wasn't expecting me to say that. No doubt he thought that I would start pleading with him like a little bitch and confessing my feeling all over again. I experienced immense satisfaction at my composure. It felt nice to finally have the savage be the one off balance. I resisted the urge to smirk.

"I think it would be best if we just forgot everything that happened today," I continued, "You were right, we've been friends too long to fuck with that."

"Well ...," he began hesitantly, then said, "yeah. And I'll talk to Paul. Make sure he's cool." He looked like he wanted to say more, but he didn't know what.

"Okay then," I said, moving meaningfully towards the door, "I guess I'll see you tomorrow."

This time there was mistaking the surprise that crossed his features. In the past, I had always done my best to spend as much time with the savage as possible; always asking him to stay, never to leave.

Again, he looked like he wanted to argue, but instead he just said, "okay."

I followed him to the door, and just as he stepped outside, he turned back and said, "how about we get together over the weekend. You can spend the night. Just you and me?"

I tried not to smile, but I couldn't help it because my plan was working already. I reminded myself to play it cool and said, "sure. What time?"

"Oh, wait," he said, "Paul and I have plans this weekend." He saw me frown and hurried out, "but we can do it next weekend. Definitely. Okay?"

"Umm, okay," I said.

"Great," he responded, giving me a lopsided smile before sprinting across my yard and hopping over the fence into his.

I shut the door, and leaned against it, exhaling long and slow. I didn't have time to dwell on everything that had just happened because the phone started ringing again. I wondered if it was the same person that had called before. I couldn't make up my mind if I should be upset or grateful for the previous interruption. I walked over to the table and picked up the cordless phone.

"Hello?" I asked.

"Hey pee-wee, where were you at lunch today?" It was Brad.

"Oh hey Brad. I, uh, had some stuff I had to do."

Brad laughed and said, "in other words, you're jealous of Paul and you didn't want to sit with them at lunch."

My first thought was to deny it, but I knew that it was useless. My feelings for the savage were painfully obvious because I was totally transparent and a very bad liar.

"Yeah," I admitted with a sigh.

"No worries dude," he said. "If it's any consolation you looked fucking hot today. I almost didn't recognize you."

"Gee, thanks," I said sarcastically.

Brad laughed again and said, "you know what I mean. We were just surprised is all."

I didn't know what to say so I just kept quiet.

Brad continued, "I mean, how would you react if I showed up to school one day and my hair was no longer red?" Okay so he had a point.

I had always been a little closer to Brad because, as captain of the chess club, he was the only other non-jock in our group. That didn't mean he was anywhere near as nerdy as I was. In fact, Brad was one of the coolest guys in school, he also happened to have a brilliant mind and could be devious on occasion.

"Anyway," Brad said, "I called earlier, but you didn't answer."

"Yeah," I said, "the savage was here."

"Really?" Brad asked in a tone chocked full of suggestion. I forgot to mention that Brad also had a one-track mind. "I knew it. I saw the way he was looking at you today. So, what happened?"

"Nothing," I replied. "We just talked."

"`Talked'. Right," Brad said. "Gimme a break. You've been wanting to fuck him since you grew hair on your balls. Combine that with the way he was looking at you today and you expect me to believe all you did was talk?"

"Dude, I don't know what you're talking about, but I've come to a decision," I said. "From now on, the savage and I are just two kids in the eleventh grade. Sure, one of us had had a crush on the other since grade school, but that's a minor set back as far as I'm concerned."

Starting now, the savage and I were simply going be two boys who lived next door to one another and were best friends but exact opposites. There would be no mention of love ever again. Our relationship was totally stereotypical. The savage was the jock who wouldn't consider me, the nerd, because of our friendship or some other bullshit. Usually in books, the jock comes to his senses and realizes that he loved the nerd all along, but seeing as how that isn't reality, in my case the nerd gets tired of waiting and moves on.

Now if only I could somehow get myself to actually move on.

"Okay, okay," Brad said. "I'm glad you've finally come to your senses. We were worried we might have to have an intervention of some sort."

"I'm glad it never got to that," I said.

"You know," Brad joked, "I always thought you were cute. Now that you're over the savage, maybe we could ..."

"Thanks, but I don't think Dave would like that very much." I said. Dave was Brad's boyfriend and they had been together since freshman year.

"Don't worry about it," Brad replied. "Dave doesn't mind sharing." I snorted at that which prompted him to laugh.

We talked for a few more minutes before hanging up the phone. It was already after five o'clock and after skipping breakfast and lunch I was starving. I went into the kitchen to fix myself something a saw a note on the refrigerator door. It was from my mom telling me that she and dad were going out to dinner straight from work and that I would have to fix myself something. There were leftovers in the fridge and she left me instructions on how to re-heat them.

My need for grease was back, so I decided not to have leftovers and make myself some oily burgers instead. I thought about the savage as I gathered utensils and ingredients. I thought back to the eighth grade when the savage had first discovered my feelings for him. I had popped one too many boners during our sleepovers for it to go unnoticed. At the time he had been completely nonchalant about it, for which I was eternally grateful. I had been so scared of what would happen if he found out, but he had been very casual about the whole thing. The only problem was that he continued to use this flippant attitude where I was concerned, brushing aside my blatant feelings time and again.

What I had initially been grateful for soon became something I despised. I had often wondered what it would take for the savage to finally take my feelings seriously. Three years later and I still had no idea. But now it finally seemed like I was making some sort of progress and it was about time too. I mean, I was a friggin sixteen-going-on-seventeen year old virgin. The time for talk was over.


Over the course of the next two weeks, things pretty much settled down into routine. I still hated Paul and I hated being around him, but I pretended to make nice for the savage's sake. I decided to drop band and take study hall instead, which meant that Griff and I spent the first two hours of every day together. I got a lot closer to Griff over the next couple of weeks and he turned out to be a pretty awesome guy. Griff was a big help. After meeting him and becoming friends, I became more and more confident and my life stopped revolving around the savage.

After the first week, I began getting questioning looks, and sometimes even glares, from the savage when he saw me with Griff, which was a lot. There was nothing going on between Griff and I, we were just friends, but the savage didn't know that and I didn't feel the need to tell him. It was mostly because Griff was new and cute and I was nice to him that everyone assumed there was something going on. Most people were just surprised that I was no longer following around the savage like a lost puppy.

Things were also complicated by the fact that the savage and Griff really seemed to dislike each other. I wasn't sure why, but I had my theories. Griff probably didn't like the savage because of our history together and the way the savage had treated me. I also suspected that his feelings might not even have anything to do with me. I had a feeling my situation with the savage reminded him of a similar experience but I had yet to have my suspicions confirmed.

The savage, on the other hand, was just jealous about having lost his monopoly on my time. According to Brad, the savage was feeling "replaced" and was acting out like a jealous jerk. I had been secretly thrilled at this piece of news, but I wanted to make sure so I decided to test it out. One day, on our way to school in his car, I mentioned to the savage that I had invited Griff to our little sleepover. He had been pissed.

"What's going on Connor?" He had asked.

"What do you mean?" I had played dumb.

"I mean this Griff guy. You spend all of your time with him and you don't even hang out with us anymore," he had complained.

"I like him," was all I had said, using the exact same words he had used when I had asked him about Paul. He had given me a disgruntled look, but hadn't said any more on the topic. Instead he had seethed for the rest of the drive to school and frowned for half the day, much to my delight.

That day at lunch I sat with Griff and considered my circumstances. I had started eating lunch with Griff almost everyday, a fact that hadn't escaped the savage.

"Griff, I wanted to ask you something," I began, "do you think it's possible for someone to know that his best friend has feelings for him, but decide not to ever hook up with him and instead just get down with other guys in front of him?"

"It's possible, but rude," Griff replied without looking up from his tuna and cucumber sandwich. "Unless the guy only suspects that the best friend has feelings for him, but doesn't want to find out for sure because he thinks it would hurt the friendship if he's wrong."

I was pretty sure we both knew who we were talking about, but if Griff wanted to go on without mentioning names then that was fine.

"Nope," I said, "he knows for sure, but he won't do anything cause he doesn't like the other guy back and he doesn't want the friendship to get fucked."

"Okay enough already," Griff said, putting his sandwich down and looking me straight in the eyes. "You're a smart guy, so I'm pretty sure you've already figured this out, but there was someone at my old school. I've been where you are before, liking someone who doesn't like me back." Griff was right, I had made the connection but this was the most he had ever said about it.

I too gave up the pretense of eating and said, "So what should I do? I keep hoping that if the savage thinks I've decided to move on, then he'll finally realize that he liked me the whole time after all." I grimaced at myself, "wow, saying that out loud makes me sound more retarded than I thought."

Griff laughed and said, "dude, you're an amazing guy, but unfortunately you can't make someone like you. I know you still have feelings for the savage, but my advice is to `move on'. For real this time."

It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but I knew that he was right.


My eyes popped open and I woke to the unusual silence of my bedroom on a weekday. One glance at me alarm told me why; it was only 6:45 am. I had another twenty minutes of valuable sleep time before I had to get up, but for some unknown reason I had woken unassisted. I didn't feel like getting up and I would have preferred to spend all day in bed. Thank God it was Friday and another week was finally at an end.

Now the weekend was here. It seemed like everywhere I looked this week there was Paul and the savage, so I started ditching my crowd even more to avoid them. I now spent all my lunches with Griff and I got to know him better. He was a cool guy with a dirty sense of humor that I really liked. I still hung out with my old friends, but it just felt nice knowing that I had an alternative to them sometimes.

I felt a little nervous about tonight. I was supposed to be going over to spend `quality time' with the savage tonight and Griff would be coming along to act as a buffer and stop me from doing anything stupid like throwing myself at the savage again. Granted, it had taken an insane amount of coaxing before Griff agreed, but I had rationalized it to him by telling him what a good opportunity it would be to make other friends besides me.

As much as I liked both Griff and the savage, the two of them seemed to continue to dislike each other immensely. I was hoping that this weekend would provide an opportunity for the two of them to put their differences aside and maybe become friends. I wanted us all to hang out outside of school, in a relaxed social setting. I firmly believed that once Griff and the savage spent some time together, they would start to like one another.

Hanging out with Griff had a balm-like effect on my confidence. After everything that had happened with the savage, my self-esteem had taken a beating. I was determined to get over him but after liking him for years and years, I knew that it would take time. It was weird, but I was suddenly being approached more. Even though I had distanced myself a little from my old group, I seemed to be attracting lots of new attention. I couldn't remember the last time I had looked at another guy besides the savage and I don't ever recall any guys taking notice of me in the past.

It was all probably because of my new look. I'd noticed several girls and even a few guys checking me out in school. After that day at my house two weeks ago, I had seriously considered reverting back to my old self, but then I decided to make my makeover about me, not the savage. I wanted to take care of my appearance and look good for me, not for anybody else. I wasn't going to turn back into an ugly dork just because the savage was with somebody else.

In fact, a good reason to become more conscious of my appearance was because the savage was with somebody else. And I wasn't just going to stop at the progress I had made either, I was going to continue improving my appearance. Griff and I decided to be gym buddies and work out together. I liked the new shape that my body had taken over the summer and I wanted to continue working out. These were all baby steps, but they were taking me in the right direction. I was spending less and less time thinking about the savage and more time getting a life.

I had lived so long in the savage's shadow that the idea of having an identity that wasn't somehow connected to his felt foreign. All that was changing as I was spending more and more time with Griff and less and less time with the savage. That wasn't entirely because I wanted to, but more because I was unwilling to spend time with the savage while he was with Paul - and that seemed to be a majority of the time.

It did feel good, however, to get close to someone I didn't have the hots for. My time with Griff was comfortable and pressure-free because I didn't have the weight of a not-so-secret crush bearing down on me. Our friendship was also propelled by the invigorating power of novelty. Griff was new, whereas I had known the savage all my life. There was an abundance of things for me to discover about Griff and he had many things to learn about me.

I lay in bed and just let my mind wander for the next twenty minutes until I heard my alarm start beeping. I reached over and shut it off, then threw off my covers and got out of bed. I made quick work of getting showered and getting dressed. Since I had started taking a perverse pleasure in dressing well and looking good, I had laid out my clothes the night before and placed them over the back of my desk chair.

Today I was wearing a navy blazer, with a broken-in pomegranate polo, cargo shorts and a grosgrain belt. I had to admit that I looked good. I was getting better at coordinating my clothes. One thing about increasing my confidence was that it gave me a better body image, which helped me feel better, and I think that others sensed my change in attitude. It made me more approachable, which in turn made me more attractive.

The savage showed up at 7:45 am on the dot - which I guess wasn't hard to do considering that he lived right next door - and we rode to school together. This time his little brother Jake rode with us. I guess calling him the savage's "little" brother was slightly misleading since he was only 3 or 4 inches shorter than the savage's 6'4 height. Jake was only in the tenth grade and I had known him since he was in grade school, so I always kind of thought of him as little even though he had outgrown me in recent years.

He was actually the savage's adopted brother, but he'd been with the family since he was eight and had always been treated exactly the way a biological sibling would. Jane McGraw, the savage's mom, was a social worker and had found Jake one day eating out of a dumpster behind the social services building where she worked. She had called Child Protective Services and they had taken Jake into custody, kicking and screaming.

Mrs. McGraw had later discovered that Jake had been abused in foster care and had run away. His guardians hadn't even reported his disappearance, and had instead continued to cash checks they received from the state. The McGraws had taken one look at Jake and had immediately taken him into their family. I had known Jake ever since. He was a laid back dude that never seemed to sweat, and his voice never rose. He was all about acting and lived and breathed theatre. He was part of the drama club, but was very popular with the ladies. We still weren't sure which way Jake swung.

"What's up, Jay?" I said when I got in the car.

"Nothing," he smiled, "where's Griffin Sutter?"

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the savage scowl, but he didn't say anything so I said, "do you know Griff?"

"Nope," Jake replied, "but we have bio together and I see him all the time but he never says anything. I know the two of you hang out a lot so I thought I'd ask."

"Well, he's coming with me over to your place tonight so I'll introduce you," I said. That made Jake smile even more. I swear I couldn't figure that kid out. He seemed a little too excited about meeting Griff.

When we arrived at school, I went to my locker and unloaded all my books except my calc textbook. I had just finished and was closing up my locker when I saw Paul down the hall. He was standing at the savage's locker talking, but he stopped mid-sentence when he saw me. I couldn't help the sense of satisfaction that I felt at his astonished gaze. I looked good today and I knew it.

Deciding to play it cool, I merely nodded in his direction in acknowledgement before turning and making my way to class. I walked into first period, math, and I saw Griff already seated in what was now our customary spot at the back of the glass. He looked up as I approached and I watched him raise his eyebrow as he took in my clothes.

"Hey," I said when I reached our table, taking off my pageboy and plopping it on the surface.

"Hey dude," he replied as I took the seat next to him.

A knowing smile played on his lips and he continued staring at me, prompting me to ask, "what?"

"Apparently you're quite the hottie," that comment caught my attention and had me glancing at Griff with questioning eyes. He laughed at my surprised expression before elaborating, "I was talking to Sally Johnson earlier - at least I think that's what her name was - and she had all sorts of questions about you."

"Me?" I asked stupidly, just to make sure I wasn't hearing things. Sally was one of the most popular girls in school.

"Yup," he said with a smile. "She wanted to know all sorts of stuff about you; whether you were single, what you were doing for the weekend. And she kept talking about your eyes."

"My eyes?" I repeated.

"Yup," Griff said again, "apparently they're `gorgeous'."

Despite myself, I blushed. I liked all the attention that I was getting, but I was still getting used to having it. Having Sally Johnson make an inquiry about me wasn't something that happened everyday. As flattered as I was, I had other things on my mind.

"So are you ready for this weekend?" I asked.

"Yeah, I guess," Griff replied.

"Gee, you could pretend to at least be a little enthusiastic about it," I said and Griff laughed. "So, I'll meet you at my locker at the end of the day and we'll all head off together."

"We?" Griff asked sharply.

"Me, you, savage and Jake, the savage's brother," I said by way of explanation. "The savage and I have gym together last period so it'll be easier if we just met up with you. Jake has practice, so he'll be home later."

"Okay," Griff said with a nod.

The only class I had with the savage this quarter was gym, which was pleasing and annoying at the same time. I always looked forward to the savage getting naked in the changing rooms, but it was torture knowing I couldn't look. In fact, it may have been my imagination, but I felt as though the savage was looking at me more. Sometimes I would glance over and catch him staring at my body. It probably stemmed more from curiosity than interest. My body had changed a lot recently and the savage wasn't used to it yet.

Mr. Chan, the math teacher, showed up and started the class, pulling me out of my thoughts. The day was rigorous and by the time gym rolled around I was so ready for it to be over. The gym instructor had other ideas, and had us running laps. I was ready to collapse by the time the bell rang. I was getting in shape, but I was by no means in the kind of peak physical condition that the savage was in. He barely broke a sweat during the work out.

When we were both showered and changed, we headed out to the hall to find Griff. When the savage and I approached, Griff and the savage shared a glare but thankfully they both kept quiet. I wanted to say something to diffuse the tension, but my legs felt like they were on fire and I just wanted them to stop hurting. I silently cursed that old fart, the gym teacher, in my mind. I pasted on a smile for Griff and said, "are you ready to go?"

"Yeah," was all he said, so the three of us made our way out of the building to the parking lot where we got in his car and headed to his house. The whole time, both Griff and the savage were silent. I knew this was going to be a looong weekend.


When Jake got home from rehearsal, I resisted the urge to run up and grab him. The last two hours had been incredibly slow and boring. Griff and the savage seemed determined to pretend the other didn't exist, and the strain of having to carry entire conversations by myself was starting to get to me.

Jake entered the basement and his gaze immediately centered on where Griff was seated. I saw Griff look up at Jake, then his eyes widened and he looked away. If I didn't know better, I'd say that Griff was uncomfortable. Jake sauntered over to where we were seated and said, "Hey, you're in my English class, and my bio class right? Griff?"

"Umm, yeah," Griff mumbled without really looking up. He looked distinctly uneasy. Well, well, well wasn't this interesting, I thought to myself.

"I'm Jake," Jake said, holding out his hand. Griff hesitated for a moment before reluctantly shaking the outstretched hand. I had never seen Griff behave this way. I made a mental note to ask him about it later. I was pretty sure there was an attraction there, which I guess answered my questions about Jake's orientation, but I had also recently discovered that Griff had been hurt before so I didn't know what to make of it.

"Hey, are you guys hungry? I picked up some pizza and it's upstairs in the kitchen," Jake said.

I made to get up from the couch when the savage said, "you guys go on ahead. I want to talk to Connor about something real quick." I looked over at Griff and he looked like he wanted to protest, but shook my head imperceptibly. He rose from the chair and followed Jake up the stairs towards the kitchen. The moment the basement door shut, the savage slid closer to me on the couch. He had been looking at me all afternoon like he wanted to say something and I couldn't wait to hear what it was.

I was careful not to let my body touch his as we sat on the couch. The savage turned towards me, leaning back against the arm of the couch and bringing his legs close to my own. I immediately moved back, shifting away from him. I looked up and caught the frown on his face indicating that he knew I was trying to put a distance between our bodies and he didn't like it.

"Connor," he began. Again he looked like he wanted to say something more but he wasn't quite sure how. He leaned forward and his legs bumped mine. I know he probably didn't mean anything by it, but it didn't matter because I was always affected by his touch, no matter how casual. I tried to inch my legs away without him noticing.

What happened next was so sudden that I wasn't quite sure exactly what did happen. One minute we were sitting quietly on the couch next to one another and the next minute the savage was lying on top of me, kissing me. He fit his body to mine, ignoring my first instinctive move to pull away from him, brushing my lips gently, wrapping his arms around me and covering my body with his own. It was just as pleasurable as it had been the last time, but when I brought my hands up and placed them around his neck, he stilled. I tried to continue kissing him, but he didn't really respond. I could feel my fear of inadequacy creeping in. Wasn't he enjoying it? Was I doing it wrong?

Just when I was going to give up, he pulled me closer to him and kissed me deep. He slid his fingers along my side and I stiffened. I was a little ticklish. Somewhere in the back of my brain, my better judgment warned me against doing this again. The savage grabbed a fistful and hiked up my shirt, I placed my hand on his thinking to stall him, knowing that once he touched me, I wouldn't be able to deny him.

I was breathing hard, my chest rising and falling harshly and my nipples peaking. His fingers brushed against a hard nub and I jerked, a little sanity returning. Two weeks ago I had been in very similar position and I had promised myself that I wouldn't let myself be used again.

"Stop," I said, but the savage ignored me. He began to kiss down the side of my neck and I pushed against his chest saying, "why are you doing this? Do you think I don't know just how little you do want me, savage?" I couldn't keep the desperation from my voice. I didn't want to go through such painful arousal only to have him pull back in the end like he had done last time.

Instead of answering his lips took mine, his tongue plunged into my mouth, forcing me to accept him despite my instinctive cringe of rejection. Okay, enough was enough. I didn't fucking understand this and I was tired of pretending like I did. He was sending me mixed signals. I was just about to sever my lips from his and demand an explanation when we both heard a voice at the top of the stairs call out, asking, "dude, are you down there?!"

The savage and I both froze as I recognized Paul's voice.